“Can I ask you to lunch”, his brief message was unexpected. We’d only been talking for a couple of hours. I was sceptical – I’d been stood up recently, ghosted by some sick sad dickhead, left at a restaurant by myself without even a “sorry darl, something came up”.
I don’t know if you can imagine the sense of worthlessness and embarrassment that accompanies a no show. With tears barely contained I’d paid for my drink and left the table and spent a wasted Saturday night alone on the couch. Dating is such a shitty thing sometimes.
I checked his profile again…………his positive attitude and happy disposition shone through – (but so had Mr No shows). His profile pictures an album of adventure, smiles and naked chests. He looked fit, tidy and well presented for his 50 years – always a joy to find a man your own age who knows the importance of keeping fit and filling a shirt with muscle not flab. You could tell he was a metrosexual, a modern man– that he moisturised his face, knew the importance of a close shave, and wasn’t still wearing the shirt his ex-wife had bought him ten years before.
“Lunch Saturday at a café near the beach”. He was picking up his kids later that day so had a couple of hours free.
I sat contemplating, my fingers twitching on the keyboard, yes or no, was it worth putting myself out there again, last weeks’ bitter rejection still scratching behind my eyes. Ok I thought, lunch is worth the gamble. But could I be bothered with all the prep – I’d spent a small fortune last week getting my hair done, my nails painted and the ubiquitous waxing all for a failed excuse of a dog who never showed. Nope, not again. For lunch, I’d iron my pretty blue dress, touch up my nails and put my hair in curlers but no waxing, no shaving and no hair removal.
Melbourne’s weather is so unpredictable. It was raining. I’d ran to the café from the carpark but the deluge paid a specific visit to my path, my hair a bedraggled mess, dirt splatters on the back of my legs, my blue cotton dress damp and clammy. The waiter had been extra nice and found me a fresh tea towel for my hair and had directed me to the cafés tiny bathroom, barely large enough to turn round in. I ducked my head under the hand dryer and touched up my makeup – oh god I was a mess. Waiting for anyone, he asked as he handed me a menu. I looked into the face of the handsome waiter and told him about my blind date. “Good luck” he said as he bought me my coffee.
He was late – I sat at the table re reading the menu, I ordered a second coffee, I checked facebook, I checked the news, opened and closed the dating app four times. He was late and no message………the waiter watching from the counter knew something wasn’t right. Steeling myself for the embarrassment of paying for my coffee and leaving alone, I took a deep breath and approached the counter. “Looks like I’ve been stood up….again” I said……..The waiter a vision of polite restraint.
It was still pouring as I stood in the café door contemplating my run to the car. With my handbag acting as an umbrella I made my dash across the road and to the car park…”what the #$%” I exclaimed, my car was blocked in by a four wheel drive with a flat tyre. The drive on his hands and knees cussing as he wrenched the wrench. “F%^&ing thing^” he swore.
I didn’t need this…..”Mate how long you going to be” I’m starting to shiver from the cold.
Without raising his head he barks back “Give it a break lady, the frigging wheel nuts stuck and the RACV won’t get here for two hours.”
Its him, its my date, I’m speechless…..”weren’t you supposed to be on a date” I said
“For goodness sakes lady if it’s not one thing it’s another” and its then I notice the smashed phone at his feet, “dropped the frigging tyre lever on my phone so I can’t even call her to say I’m late.”
He stops then and turns and looks at me, his eyes slowly running up the length of my body – “Red” he says, ‘yes its me” I say. We stare at each other, the incongruity of the situation evident from our failed ability to speak. He finally stands, “Hello, nice to meet you.
Deep inside the relief at not being stood up turns to mirth at the bizarreness of the situation and I start to laugh, “Nice to meet you too.”
His eyes start to travel down my frame, my wet dress clinging to my body. “Lets get out of this rain” he suggests and opens the door to the back seat of his four-wheel drive. I climb in, glad for the warmth, he follows me and we sit looking at each other in awkward silence for a moment.
“I thought you’d stood me up”
“So sorry “ he said and handed me a kids towel from the cargo hold – “let me dry you off” his hands lightly brushing my hair from my face, “you’re shivering, let me warm you up” and he gathered me into his arms and started rubbing my back. “this is a bit awkward” I said, “I don’t know what to do”.
He looked at me, “You are prettier in person than your photos and I knew you had a nice body but – wow your incredible.” He kissed me then, a gentle soft lovely kiss. It was thrilling and I felt myself melt into his body.
Time passed, I don’t know how long I’d been in his arms or for how long we had kissed but I knew deep within myself that I wanted him more now than I had ever wanted anyone before. My hand slid down his arm, rested gentle on his chest and trailed toward his groin.
He moaned as I lightly stroked over the top of his bulge.
“Wait…I have something to tell you”…. My eyes opened and I looked at him questionably. “I should have told you before but I really wanted to meet you and I didn’t think I’d be this attracted to you.”
Warning bells started to ring again and I pulled back, his reluctance to release me evident in his hold. “Go on,” I said
“Umm you see, I’m actually married but she just doesn’t get it, and you are gorgeous, I’m really attracted to you, I’m sure we can be really great together………” I didn’t hear the rest of the words, the pounding of my blood in my ears to great. I untangled myself from his grip and undid the car door, as I went to get out he said, “please wait”…………………I looked at him then and saw a world of reality.
So entitled, he thought he was so entitled to waste my time, as if I was nothing more than a convenience for his ego. That he could explain away his marriage, his commitment to his wife, his obligations and that I would be willing, indeed even eager to participate in this farce.
So entitled, he thought he was so entitled to break his word to his wife. That he was so entitled to cheat on his family, that he could trade off his failure to address the issues in his life and demean me and her by his callous actions and that I would be willing.
Why is it that men think they are entitled to my time, my body, my presence just because they think I’m sexy. I slide out of the car, closed the door and with all the self-esteem I could muster, all the righteous indignation I could fold into my core, I return to the Café.
The waiter, a credit to his craft, senses that something is amiss. “Not having a good day, love” his cheery voice overlaid with concern. “You wouldn’t believe it.” I say.
He brings me a coffee and casually sits down beside me. “I’m a good listener” he says and with that the sun broke through the storm clouds and threw shimmering beams of light across the table. We chatted for a couple of hours about all sorts of things, him indignant about my latest dating disaster, me enthralled about his craft beer project, his hobby farm and his coffee-grounds recycling ideas.
We’re catching up next week to play backgammon. Faith in men mildly restored.